360° Coverage : An 'Unsustainable' Position: Obama Dodges Keystone in...

10 Updates
An 'Unsustainable' Position: Obama Dodges Keystone in SOTU Speech

An 'Unsustainable' Position: Obama Dodges Keystone in SOTU Speech

Jan 29 2014, 3:10pm CST | by

This is a guest post by Chip Register, managing director of Sapient Global Markets/> President Obama’s fifth State of the Union address is already being assessed as something of a non-event...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

26 weeks ago

An 'Unsustainable' Position: Obama Dodges Keystone in SOTU Speech

Jan 29 2014, 3:10pm CST | by


This is a guest post by Chip Register, managing director of Sapient Global Markets/>

President Obama’s fifth State of the Union address is already being assessed as something of a non-event, well-delivered but lacking much new thinking. For those interested in energy policy, it was a complete disappointment. The President largely stayed away from any discussion of energy and environmental issues during his sixty-five minute speech. And in the three minutes he did mention energy, he seemed to contradict himself and his own positions.

On the one hand, the President said “climate change is a fact” and that we must answer the call to leave our children a cleaner planet. Yet, on the other hand, the President extolled the virtues of the country’s rising energy independence and booming natural gas production, which is almost exclusively a result of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.”

So, where is the mind of the “greenest President in history” on this important topic?

That’s simple. Right now it is focused on places like Alaska, Louisiana, Montana, South Dakota, West Virginia and other energy-sensitive states where Senate Democrats are in danger of losing their seats. The President knows that in order to save the Senate, and his legacy, he must go against the majority of his party to save a critical minority of Senators who are standing for reelection in states where Keystone and energy means jobs, money, and most importantly, votes. If his party fails to hold the Senate, politics in Washington will change violently and not in a good way for a President seeking to press his agenda in the last three years of his second term, historically an uphill fight in the best of cases.

As of now, the Republican chances are looking good. A new Gallup poll released on Monday showed that eight of the Senate battleground states – Wyoming, West Virginia, Utah, Idaho, Oklahoma, Montana, Alaska and Arkansas – are also in the top ten when it comes to their dislike of Obama. Indeed, just over one-in-five Wyoming residents approved of Obama, while his approval in Montana, Alaska and Arkansas ranged from just 33% to 35%.” He fares only slightly better in Louisiana at 40% and North Carolina at 43%.

The point is the President’s unpopularity in these key states could mortally wound Democratic incumbents. Latest polling shows Democrats struggling across the board. Though it is early days, in North Carolina, Democrat Kay Hagan trails both of her leading Republican rivals by as much as 7 points, according to a poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports last week.

But approving Keystone shouldn’t be a huge leap if the President believes pragmatism should trump ideology. Rejecting the pipeline permits wouldn’t serve any larger environmental benefit (it is now really a NIMBY argument) as it would mean that instead of the oil flowing down to the US from Canada, it would simply just flow to Asia with the construction of the alternative Gateway Pipeline.

As such, many political observers believe his best option at this point is likely to give in on Keystone. If anything it would be a small gift to the right, not a total capitulation.  And, it would also not only give a boost to the embattled Democratic Senators fighting for their seats in energy states, but would be a popular with another of his most powerful constituencies, labor unions, which support the pipeline’s construction.

But when might this happen? Well, it could be as early as next week as we come up on next big political event: The February 7th debt limit deadline. Republicans fared poorly, to say the least, in the 2013 government shutdown. They know it, and Obama really knows it, so compromise here is in everyone’s interest. Keystone and a few other lightweight gives would be a perfect compromise for all sides. Obama would get his bill, placate big labor and provide a valuable talking point to Senate candidates in Red States about how the Democratic tent is big enough for all. Meanwhile, the Republicans get their pipeline and avoid another embarrassing family feud.

Should they not be able to stitch this together in time for the February 7th deadline, watchers say to look for the pivot before the summer when the campaigns move into full swing.

Earlier this month, The Sierra Club chided the President in a letter to the White House, complaining that his “all of the above” strategy is a “compromise that future generations can’t afford… It increases environmental injustice while it locks in the extraction of fossil fuels that will inevitably lead to a catastrophic climate future.” They closed their letter by pleading: “In the coming months your administration will be making key decisions regarding fossil fuel development — including the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking on public lands, and drilling in the Arctic ocean — that will either set us on a path to achieve the clean energy future we all envision or will significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution. We urge you to make climate impacts and emission increases critical considerations in each of these decisions.”

Last night’s speech hints at his response. More important forces are at play than permitting a 1,200 mile pipeline that has many undeniable benefits and poses few problems for anyone other than a single interest group buried deep in his support base. The political math just isn’t stacking up well for Keystone opponents.

Forbes contributor Chip Register is the managing director of Sapient Global Markets and e.v.p. of Sapient Corporation. Prior to joining Sapient, Register built and managed several merchant trading businesses for Louis Dreyfus Energy Services (LDES), one of the largest privately-held commodity traders in the world. Prior to LDES, he managed Essent Energy Trading, the merchant subsidiary of the largest Dutch utility. Register spent ten years before Essent trading commodities and foreign exchange. He was instrumental in the development of trading businesses for Weyerhaeuser, CIBC World Markets and UBS. 

Source: Forbes Business

 
Update
10

7 weeks ago

RM47mil KWSG contributions still unclaimed

Jun 9 2014 7:54am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: About RM47 million of contributions in the Teachers Provident Fund (KWSG) still remain unclaimed, the Dewan ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
9

7 weeks ago

Gold shop lost almost RM1mil

Jun 9 2014 3:50am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KANGAR: A gold shop owner lost almost RM1 million after after the safe on in his shop was broken into by robbers. ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
8

7 weeks ago

Motion to debate MAS losses in Dewan Rakyat rejected

Jun 9 2014 3:39am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: AN emergency motion to debate the losses incurred by Malaysia Airlines last year, amounting to RM1.2 billion was rejected by the Dewan Rakya ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
7

7 weeks ago

MH370 Tragedy: Hisham: RM27.6 mil spent on 1st phase of SAR

Jun 9 2014 2:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia spent some RM27.6 million in its first phase of the search operations for missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370, said Acting Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammu ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
6

7 weeks ago

9.1m litres of diesel seized in a month

Jun 8 2014 1:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism ministry has seized some 9.1 million litres of diesel and property worth RM58 million since mounting ‘Operasi Diesel Selatan’ in the southern states last month ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
5

7 weeks ago

Girl, 9, awarded RM2.78m compensation for medical negligence

Jun 6 2014 4:56am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: A nine-year-old girl who suffered brain damage during her birth at a government hospital was awarded over RM2.78 mil ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
4

7 weeks ago

Malaysia's total trade in April up 12pc

Jun 5 2014 11:52pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's total trade in April 2014 rose by 12 per cent from a year ago to RM123.86 billion due to growing trading activities, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed s ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
3

8 weeks ago

Works Ministry to spend RM20m for upgrading works at 50 accident black spots

Jun 4 2014 11:35pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

JOHOR BARU: The Works Ministry will implement upgrading works at 50 accident prone locations in the country that have been identified this year involving an allo ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
2

8 weeks ago

Najib launches loan scheme for Ramadan traders

Jun 4 2014 10:24pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today launches RM45 million Ramadan Bazaar Schem ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
1

8 weeks ago

Residents bring up objection against Kidex to Suhakam

Jun 4 2014 4:49am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: A group of 20 Petaling Jaya residents held a meeting with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) over their objection against the proposed RM2.2 billion Kinrara Damansara Sk ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Helpful moms, sisters push female baboons up hierarchy
New York, July 31 (IANS) A supportive mother and helpful sisters are key to female baboons reaching the higher echelons of their social strata, a study indicates.
 
 
Vintage NASA spacecraft set for interplanetary probe
Washington, July 31 (IANS) A team of scientists is priming a 36-year-old NASA spacecraft named International Sun-Earth Explorer 3 spacecraft, ISEE-3, to enter new science frontiers.
 
 
Giant asteroids wiped out life on early Earth
Washington, July 31 (IANS) Using a computer simulation model based on a moon crater, planetary scientists have revealed that early Earth is likely to have been hit by giant asteroids capable of killing off life and completely resurfacing the planet.
 
 
Fear of losing money affects investment
Washington, July 31 (IANS) The more averse, or fearful, of losing money an investor is, the lower his or her willingness seems to be for taking risks in the stock market, says a study.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

San Lorenzo advance to Copa Libertadores final
La Paz, July 31 (IANS) Argentine football club San Lorenzo earned a berth in the Copa Libertadores final for the first time with a 5-1 aggregate victory against Bolivar. The Argentine club lost Wednesday's semifinal...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
37,000 Ukrainian refugees live in Russia
Moscow, July 31 (IANS/ITAR -TASS) About 37,000 Ukrainian refugees live in temporary accommodation centres in Russia, Russian emergency situations ministry spokesman Alexander Drobyshevsky said Thursday. "Due to the...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Helpful moms, sisters push female baboons up hierarchy
New York, July 31 (IANS) A supportive mother and helpful sisters are key to female baboons reaching the higher echelons of their social strata, a study indicates. A female baboon's social status is dictated not by...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
Bosh extends contract with Miami Heat
Washington, July 31 (IANS) Miami Heat All-Star forward Chris Bosh chose to sign a five-year contract extension worth $118 million with the NBA side. Bosh helped the Heat to get two NBA titles in his last four seasons...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Vintage NASA spacecraft set for interplanetary probe
Washington, July 31 (IANS) A team of scientists is priming a 36-year-old NASA spacecraft named International Sun-Earth Explorer 3 spacecraft, ISEE-3, to enter new science frontiers. The spacecraft will now travel...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
Australia failed to make India take back asylum seekers
Sydney, July 31 (IANS) The Australia government failed to make India take 157 Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers while they were being held on high seas, media reported Thursday. The asylum seekers, including at least 37...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Liverpool beat Man City in friendly
Washington, July 31 (IANS) Liverpool edged Manchester City in a penalty shootout in their International Champions Cup encounter. The Reds, who lost the English Premier League title to Man City last season, let in a...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Giant asteroids wiped out life on early Earth
Washington, July 31 (IANS) Using a computer simulation model based on a moon crater, planetary scientists have revealed that early Earth is likely to have been hit by giant asteroids capable of killing off life and...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
Fear of losing money affects investment
Washington, July 31 (IANS) The more averse, or fearful, of losing money an investor is, the lower his or her willingness seems to be for taking risks in the stock market, says a study. "Traditionally, it was believed...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
Sam Querrey ousted at Citi Open
Washington, July 31 (IANS) Sam Querrey of the US lost to Japanese star Kei Nishikori 4-6, 7-5, 4-6 at the Citi Open here. It was the first match Wednesday for the fourth seeded Nishikori since his Wimbledon's fourth...
Read more on Sport Balla